Well Saturday it snowed, and the snow stuck for the first time in almost a decade in my part of the world. We sat around all day in our pajamas playing video games and playing with the Two Monks barn cats, which got to come inside for the day to get out of the cold.
To celebrate a lovely lazy snow day (and satisfy our lack of desire to cook anything complicated) we went with soup and sandwiches for dinner. This is a spinoff of "Red Pepper and Chile Soup" from Easy Vegetarian Meals. Of course I totally changed the recipe, 'cause that's the way I roll, yo.
Despite my housemate's belief that I am obsessed with soups, he could not help but gobble this up too. It's that good. Get ready to convert your soup haters. This ain't the Campbell's your momma made ya.
Note: We used a bit too much chili paste in our soup, so it was very hot. Edible, but sweat-breaking-out-on-the-bridge-of-your-nose hot. I reduced the chili paste in this version of the recipe as a result. The addition of the coconut milk (NOT in the original recipe whatsoever) gave the soup a great terra cotta color and cut the chile a bit, but not enough.
Another Note: I think this recipe would be even better if the red bell peppers were roasted first (or if you got roasted red bell peppers from a jar and chucked them in) but we had no jarred bell peppers and we were too hungry/lazy to roast our own. Apologies. Feel free to go the extra mile in my stead - I cook vicariously through you!
Red Pepper and Chile Soup
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 red bell pepper (seeded and sliced)
- 2-3 roma tomatoes (sliced)
- 3 cloves of garlic (smashed)
- 1 large white onion
- freshly ground black pepper and salt (to taste)
- 1 tsp. cumin
- dash of dried oregano
- dash of smoked paprika (I'm in love with this stuff)
- 1 1/2 tsp. fresh basil (we used the pureed-in-a-tube kind)
- 1 cup of So Delicious coconut milk
- 1 tsp. chili paste (more or less to taste)
- dash of garlic salt
- dash of white sugar (to balance out the hot/salty flavors)
- 8 slices of bread (we used plain old sliced white bread)
- 1 bag of shredded Swiss (or non-dairy equivalent)
- A large handful of button mushrooms (chopped small)
- 1/2 white onion (chopped small)
- glug of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- enough Earth Balance or other margarine to butter the bread
1. Throw all soup ingredients together in a pot and bring to a boil. Use enough ground black pepper to get a good pretty speckle going on through your soup. Once boiling, reduce heat and add the coconut milk; let this mixture simmer for about 20 minutes.
2. While your soup is coming to a boil, heat up a small skillet and start sauteeing your onions and mushrooms in olive oil for the paninis (med-high heat should be about right). Season well with salt and pepper; you can add other seasonings to them at this point, but we didn't. When all the onions and mushrooms are nice and cooked and caramelized (be sure to give the onions long enough to get transluscent and brown) remove the onions and mushrooms from the skillet and pour any excess olive oil out.
3. Take your soup (which should be ready by now) and let it cool for a few minutes before pouring it into a blender. Pulse until the soup is completely smooth and incorporated. It should be a bright orangey-tan color with flecks of black pepper throughout. Beautiful! Pour the finished soup back in the pot to warm off while you finish making the sandwiches.
4. Assemble the paninis by buttering the bread on the outsides, putting down a layer of cheese, a layer of onion-mushroom mixture, and then another layer of cheese. Start frying these up in your hot oiled skillet, mashing them down a bit with your spatula to get that flatbread look.
5. Once your sandwiches are done, serve it up and eat! Serves two.
We served this meal with Vegan Yum Yum's Chili Almond Asparagus, which is a staple in our household. The link to that recipe is here: http://veganyumyum.com/2009/05/chili-almond-asparagus/
Happy snow day!
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